Ask.com: Great TV Commercials. Bad Video Search
If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing Ask.com’s television commercials, visit this Ask.com corporate video site and take a look. The twerp-Broadway-style Chicks with Swords and the domestic faux-tear-jerker Daddy are my favorites. Their self-deprecating attitude, plus their over-the-top humor, make them very effective brain-Velcro.
Do they “work,” which is to say, draw people from the death grip of Google to the reinvented, now-owned-by-Scary-Barry-Diller Ask.com search site? Beats me.
The more interesting point is that the company is using an old-style mass medium (broadcast TV) to draw people to its Web service, which in turn directs people to a whole variety of media, including, increasingly, video.
Which makes it curious that the Ask.com service’s much-publicized 3-D search makes it so hard to find videos.
For instance, if you have a hard time playing those commercials from the site listed above–which presents them only in QuickTime format–let’s try the ol’ Ask.com search engine to see if we can find Flash versions.
Type “Ask.com commercials” in the elegantly simple search box, look for the “video” icon. . . and it’s not there. The options facing you on that elegantly simple interface are “Web,” “Images,” “City,” “News” and “Blogs.” To find “Video” you have to click on the little “More” arrow above the search box and then click on “Video” on the little drop-down.
This is the strange thing: Put the same search in Google and on the first page of results you’ll find a link to a YouTube version of one of the ads. Click on it and the video appears right within the search results page.
Ask.com staff: Jakob Nielsen on line 1!